Discipleship and Leadership Training in Manta

Discipleship and Leadership Training in Manta

Doctrine students

Discipleship 2 Training

Eleven students (nine in the photo) in Manta completed the course in Basic Christian Doctrine and took the exam. This is the Thursday night Discipleship 2 Training. The students did a great job of continuing to study and meet weekly in spite of our absence. One of the men in the class, Juan León, encouraged the others to continue, reviewed the study materials that we provided, and led the group meetings. We are encouraged that the people in the church in Manta will continue to prepare themselves for service and for the ministry of discipling others. We are planning the next course for the months of June, July, and August, and expect these and other students to be enrolled.

Theology module

Theology Module

In May, one of our Ecuadorian pastor friends, encouraged the church in Manta with a training opportunity. He taught a weekend theology module on ecclesiology (theology of the church). A good number of people attended the classes, and the students were enthusiastic about the subject matter. We are looking for options for more advanced training for our servant leaders in Manta, and this is a terrific option. Thanks to Pastor Jorge Rodríguez offering his time and expertise for building up the local church in Manta. Everyone looks forward to the next opportunity for similar advanced teaching and training.

Joy’s Mother, Verneta Wille, Now in Heaven

Joy’s Mother, Verneta Wille, Now in Heaven

Ted and Verneta Wille

Verneta Wille

Joy’s mother, Verneta Wille, suffered a very serious stroke early in the morning on March 26, and was immediately transported from her home in Crossville, TN to the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville. Although she received the very best treatment possible, she did not respond well. The Lord took her home on April 3. Family and friends attended her celebration of life service on April 7 at Central Baptist Church of Crossville.

Mrs. Wille was a wonderful pastor’s wife for 50 years, serving alongside her husband, Pastor Ted Wille, in churches in Tennessee, New Jersey, and Michigan. She was an excellent homemaker and hostess. Verneta loved music, singing in her church choir. Joy’s mother excelled as a Sunday School teacher, being very effective with preschool children. Many parents and past students have remarked on the impact and influence she had on her pupils for the Gospel of Christ.

Pastor and Mrs. Wille have been passionately committed to world missions, giving by faith to send and sustain missionaries around the world. Perhaps their greatest sacrifice for the Great Commission was their blessing on their only daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren serving as missionaries to Ecuador for the past 30 years.

Our Time in Tennessee

As soon as we heard about the stroke, we arranged for Joy to travel to Knoxville, though she wouldn’t be able to travel until the next day. Within hours we knew that the situation was critical, and made arrangements for Tony, and the kids to travel as well. We were in Knoxville by the morning of the 28th.

It was good to gather as a family during those final days. Our adult daughters, Amanda, Ashley, and Alexis were also there and were of great help and comfort. We are grateful for the presence of family members and dear friends from all over the United States and around the world who expressed their love and concern. The church family of Central Baptist, where they are members, was amazing. The church staff did a tremendous job in making her celebration service very memorable. The choir provided uplifting and Christ-exalting music. The guests in attendance at the service, and communication from the previous churches where Pastor and Mrs. Wille had served were very encouraging.

Right now, our family is with Joy’s Dad in Crossville, TN, serving him through the adjustments in his life. We are helping with his physical needs, and making sure he is well cared for. Thank you for your prayers on his behalf.

We are also attentive to the work in Manta. Although we don’t have a definite timeline for our return, we are providing guidance in the selection of preachers to fill the pulpit. We are also preparing study guides for the Thursday night Bible classes.  The administrative team is communicating with us about the church’s activities. Please pray for the congregations and it’s leaders as they serve Christ well during our absence.

Property Purchase and “Multiply” Ministry

Property Purchase and “Multiply” Ministry

Planning for our “Multiply” Ministry

For the past year or more we have been making plans and taking steps to get the next stage of our ministry, “Multiply,” up and running. The emphasis of our ministry vision is multiplication of disciples, servant/leaders, and local churches. We want to help pastors and churches around Ecuador to be more effective in multiplication. The vision has a few aspects that we are planning and getting underway:

  • 1) Make simple discipleship and training materials available to pastors and local churches.
  • 2) Provide short-term teaching and training on-site in local churches around Ecuador.
  • 3) Offer hospitality to pastors, ministries, and short-term missionaries at our home.

For part 3 we have located a property in a rural area outside of Manta where we can build our family home and a guest house, with some space for relaxation and recreation, as well as an area for small group meetings.

Anzalone property

Where is it?

Here are the coordinates. Clicking on them will take you to the right spot on the map.

1°04’33.7″S 80°50’53.3″W

It is just a 20 minute drive southwest of Manta, near the small town of El Aromo, where you leave a very arid climate zone and enter a much greener, more tropical environment at the edge of the Pacoche Wildlife Refuge. Near a semi-humid forested area, and a short distance from the Pacific Ocean, the temperature is cooler than Manta, and the plants and trees are abundant.

Property seller with Anzalones

We have an agreement to buy about 2 acres for $27,000. So far we have paid $11,000. So there is just $16,000 left to raise. You can help us to reach the goal of buying the property by giving especially for this project and the Multiply ministry.

Meanwhile we have a design for our home, and some ideas for developing the rest of the property. Much of the cost of our home construction and site development will come from the sale of our home in Manta, but we will also need your help.

How can you give?

You can help us with this project by giving to our ministry through Baptist Bible Fellowship International (BBFI) and designating your gift for the Multiply ministry. You may give by mail or on-line. The How to Give page on our website provides the address for BBFI and instructions that are easy to follow. Click here to go to the How to Give page.

Be sure that your check or online donation is directed to the “Anzalones in Ecuador — Multiply.”


Bible Studies in February and March

Bible Studies in February and March

Men’s and Women’s Bible Study Groups

Bible study has been central to the program at our church for the past several weeks.

Women Bible Study

February and March were months for Bible Study at the church in Manta. Two groups met each Friday night. Joy led a women’s group for a study of The Armor of God from Ephesians 6. The study included a video segment and take-home work. It was a very intense course about Spiritual Warfare. Joy had led the study for two women’s groups last year in our home. About 15 women completed the study at the church.

Men Bible Study

The other Friday night group was a men’s group. Tony led a study of the qualities essential for pastors and church leaders from 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1. Each weekly study included in-depth word study of three or four of the qualities listed in those chapters. Discussion and participation from the students was an important element as we tried to apply the Scriptures to our own lives as Christian men. Three men were especially faithful throughout the series.

Basic Christian Doctrine

On Thursday night we hold Bible Institute classes that we refer to as Discipulado 2 (Discipleship 2). In February we started a course called Basic Christian Doctrine. We are studying 20 essential biblical doctrines that all Christians should know and believe. The goal is to know what the Bible teaches about these subjects, such as the attributes of God, the meaning of the atonement, the resurrection, and the Second Coming of Christ. Seventeen students are participating in the course which requires outside reading and completing a weekly study guide.

“Romans” Sunday Sermon Series

On Sundays in February and March, Tony began preaching an expository sermon series from the Epistle to the Romans. Paul’s explanation of the Gospel in Romans is in-depth and detailed, so it is very interesting to prepare sermons and preach in a verse-by-verse format. The initial chapters include a personal introduction from Paul himself, and, more importantly, of Jesus Christ as the very central person in the Good News; then Paul points out the necessity of the Gospel — because all of us are sinners in need of a Savior.

Bible study has been an important part of our work in February and March.

Vision for the Church in Manta for 2018

Vision for the Church in Manta for 2018

Thank you for your prayers for our church in Manta. Our Vision 2018 theme is “Lift up your eyes!” We want to lead the church to look to God for leadership, power, and presence. Psalm 121 says, “I will lift up my eyes to the hills — from whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” In John 4:35 Jesus told his disciples, “Lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!” We pray that the church will see the great opportunities and needs for service in the church and in our community. This is a time of change in many ministry areas of the church including children’s ministry, youth and adult discipleship, and administration. Thank you for praying with us about these things during the coming months.

New Disciples Baptized

New Disciples Baptized

One of a church’s key vital signs is baptism. On October 29 we rejoiced to see 6 believers baptized at the end of the Sunday morning service in Manta. Three of those baptized were children from families in our church. This shows that the children are receiving some good instruction at home and in Sunday School. A young married couple was baptized. They are receiving discipleship instruction and starting out the Christian life on the right foot. The sixth candidate was a woman well into the Senior Saint category, she recently became a follower of Christ after many years in a pseudo-Christian religion. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is a dynamic, life-changing force at any age.

Women’s Conference

Women’s Conference

At the end of October, Iglesia Bíblica Bautista de Manta held a one-night women’s conference. Over 60 women, both adults and teens, attended and enjoyed the music, games, fellowship, food, and teaching. Joy was one of the speakers. We are grateful to see many signs of renewed unity in the church since our return.


Teddy Serving in Bonsai Ministry

Teddy Serving in Bonsai Ministry

Our son Teddy (age 15) serves 2 afternoons each week in the Bonsai After-School Program at our church. Teddy recently added a new aspect to his duties at Bonsai: teaching the children to play the guitar. To help the kids with practice instruments, Teddy had an extra guitar available, but needed another one. We found out about a new BBFI program to help MK’s with their own ministry endeavors through local church VBS offerings. Soon Teddy had another guitar available, thanks to children’s VBS offerings from the USA.